OnePlus 9 Pro vs OnePlus 9 low angle camera modules

The biggest smartphone failure of 2021

OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9 Low Angle Camera Modules

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

I’m pretty sure 2021 didn’t turn out quite as some had imagined it to be. We entered the year with great hope, that’s for sure. Virtually anything at all should have been better than 2020, right? Unfortunately, 2021 failed to live up to its potential. Covid continues to infect the world despite the arrival of vaccines in late 2020. Moreover, a handful of companies in the tech industry have managed to lose their way with hardware, software, and other aspects of their business.

In this article, we explore the myriad ways tech companies have dogged the dog over the past 12 months. Here are the biggest smartphone failures of 2021.

Life is no longer good for LG’s mobile business

LG Wing screens standing open

David Amell / Android Authority

here in Android salad We love competition. The more companies that manufacture and sell smartphones, the better. That means we’d hate to see any company bottling it up and calling it quits, but that’s exactly what LG – a longtime industry champion – did.

Further reading: The best LG phones you can buy

Citing years of financial losses for the mobile unit ($4.5 billion!), LG announced on April 5, 2021, that it would be out of the smartphone business for good by July 31. The writing has been on hold for a while – it simply took LG a long time to read it. The company has made it clear that it will focus instead on its remaining business units, including white goods, televisions, smart home equipment and other segments.

LG’s mobile phone ambitions date back to the 1990s. It was launched in the public mind with popular feature phones like ENv and Chocolate and later entered the smartphone space with notable devices including G series and Nexus 4.

LG has always been intent on making its own way.

If there’s one thing a company should remember, it’s take a risk. LG has always been intent on carving its own way, despite fierce competition from in-country rival Samsung. We only need to look at the modular LG G5, dual-screen V20, or the rotor-mounted display from the LG Wing for evidence of its ambition.

Despite its best efforts, we unfortunately made a bid on LG this year, making it one of the best smartphones to fail in 2021.

Microsoft Duo takes two

Microsoft Surface Duo General User Interface 1

David Amell / Android Authority

It takes something special to land on Android saladMicrosoft’s list of smartphones failed for two years in a row, yet Microsoft managed to do just that.

The original Microsoft Duo, a dual-screen foldable phone, was a disaster from front to back. The hardware was lacking in key features and the software was worse. In fact, the phone still did not receive Android 11 by December 2021, despite the availability of the phone and software in the market for more than a year!

Further reading: Microsoft Duo Review

The company is looking to correct its mistakes with Microsoft Duo 2 but it still falls short. Microsoft has updated devices in just the right ways with notable improvements across the board. There are no real complaints there. What is supposed to make the device unique, however, is the dual-screen arrangement. Two 5.3-inch panels combine to create a larger 8.3-inch screen for an expanded workspace. The problem is that the large gap between the two halves of the phone interrupts this workspace. Few of the apps have been updated with real support for larger display space. On top of that, relying on single monitors for anything makes you cringe because of their smaller footprints. In other words, there is still no compelling use case for Duo 2.

Rounding out the drawbacks is the hefty $1,499 price tag and the extra $129 you have to spend for Microsoft compatible pen recording. Duo 2, despite the improvements that have been made, is simply not a competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

Samsung move to fold the note

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with S Pen

Samsung Galaxy Note series is one of the most popular phone series of the Korean company every year. Legions of stylus-obsessed mobile device owners are looking to update their brutal tablets with every iteration. It wouldn’t have been in 2021.

See also: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review

To be fair, Samsung has kind of prepared us. The company has hinted for about a year that it may have overtaken the Galaxy Note. The phone, usually announced in August or September, failed to show up this year and we know exactly why: Samsung has fully invested in its foldable line instead.

Samsung announced the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 with great fanfare last summer. Now on their third-generation devices, the fold and flip have matured a bit. What’s more important than the updated specifications and performance of the 2021 models, however, is the new Z Fold 3’s support for the S Pen and Samsung’s standard set of Note-specific features. For example, Samsung ported the Note’s air commands, note-taking templates, and doodling tools. These make the Z Fold 3, with its large internal display, a natural alternative to the Note – despite the lack of space to house the S Pen.

paying off: Best S Pen Apps for Android

What remains is where Samsung will take advantage of the Fold and Note in the future. Will the note appear again? Or is it really dead in favor of the fold? Either way, with no Note 21 in 2021, this is one of our biggest smartphone failures of the year.

Nokia’s big decline

Nokia 9 PureView in hand, showing the back of the phone

HMD Global, the maker of Nokia-branded phones, has been telling its fans some bad news lately, dropping it for a spot on our smartphone list. The company said it couldn’t update its early 2019 flagship phone, the 9 PureView, to Android 11 as promised. This leaves the device stuck in Android 10 and, more importantly, it leaves the buying public’s trust in HMD Global shattered, devastated and devastated.

Related: Nokia 9 PureView review

What happened here? Since 2016, HMD Global has mostly fostered goodwill with fans of the Nokia brand. It has offered a range of affordable, mid-range and high-quality Android phones that have attracted a wide range of consumers across the globe. Furthermore, HMD Global has been able to implement things like timely software updates. However, all this seems to have changed, and not for the better.

It looks like Android 11 has thrown HMD Global into a loop. The company has been slow to deliver the update to its Nokia 8.3 5G flagship phone and has been slower to stream the software to its more affordable devices, putting it at the bottom of the trust ratings.

Among the Nokia 9 PureView in particular, HMD Global said that “the incompatibility between the camera and software would have resulted in a compromised experience that did not meet our high standards.” The company threw a bone at the nine PureView owners, saying they could get a 50% discount on the newer XR20 if they so desired. The XR20 is a good solid phone, but it’s not in the same category of premium hardware as the 9 PureView.

Further reading: HMD Global’s engagement with Nokia is a story of lost potential

Bottom line, HMD Global faltered and faltered badly. It urgently needs to correct the course of the ship bound for 2022.

Google is the leader

Google 30W USB C Power Charger Resting on Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro

Robert Treggs / Android Authority

I’m not going to lie: it’s weird that Google made our smartphone fail in the 2021 list, but it did. What led the great search giant astray? Of all things, the charging speeds of the flagship Pixel 6 phones. here it is Stream Situation.

Tested: Pixel 6 charges slower than Google indicates

When Google announced the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6, it made sure to point out that they had adopted the USB Power Delivery PPS charging protocol. Furthermore, it recommended that consumers use the latest 30W USB-C Adapter (sold separately, of course) for maximum charging speeds. Based on the language Google used, it was reasonable to assume that the Pixel 6 family is charged at 30W. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Our testing showed that the phones topped out at just 22W, with an average rating of just 13W.

Google didn’t lie, technically, because it never said the phones would charge at 30W, although it does strongly suggest that higher speeds are supported. The company later confirmed our findings and admitted that, no, the Pixel 6 series does not charge at 30W, even when using a 30W charger.

Lying or not lying, the whole thing felt intimidating, making it one of our smartphones to fail in 2021.

OPPO’s Missed Opportunity for OnePlus

OnePlus 9 Pro Right Rear Profile

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

OnePlus is a brand in constant flux. Like a caterpillar, it undergoes changes thanks to its DNA. However, the end result, which is almost here, will not be a pretty butterfly. Instead, the company will likely appear as a butterfly. That’s not to say moths are bad, but OnePlus had the potential to be a great thing, and it looks like it will settle for simply being mediocre.

Related: Everything you need to know about OnePlus

OnePlus started life with the goal of being a passionate brand. He had a clever marketing department and relies on his wits every time he releases a new phone. The result was a company that built a strong fan base and stood apart from its owner, Oppo, under the larger BBK umbrella. However, by the end of 2021, it becomes clear that OnePlus’ time as a premium feature is coming to an end.

In July, for example, the company announced that OnePlus and Oppo would merge their hardware research teams. The end result will be OnePlus and Oppo phones that are similar to each other. Furthermore, the company has integrated its software development processes. While OnePlus’ beloved Oxygen OS will continue to appear on OnePlus phones sold outside of China, OnePlus phones sold within China will run Oppo’s Color OS instead. The code base will be shared between the two platforms, leaving less room for OnePlus to stand out.

If that wasn’t enough, OnePlus’ hardware strategy has taken a turn. The company used to release one flagship device each year. However, in 2020 and 2021, it diluted its brand with affordable and rebranded BBK devices. This eroded OnePlus’ standing with its old fans.

Further reading: The end of Oxygen OS and the start of OnePlus 2.0

OnePlus has concluded that its 2022 flagship smartphone will arrive relatively soon. When that happens, we’ll know just how moth-like the company has become.

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